It is with deep regret that we bring the news of Art Chrisman’s passing. A legendary drag racer, Chrisman was voted as the number 29 driver on the NHRA’s list of top 50 drivers of the first 50 years of NHRA racing. He was 87 years old.
Chrisman grew up in high-performance with his father “Pops” Chrisman and Uncle Jack opening up a shop in Compton shortly after WWII ended. Soon they were hitting all the local drag strips, working as a family unit. Uncle Jack campaigned a Model A Tudor that topped the tracks at 114 mph while Art and his brother Lloyd ran one of the oldest dragsters at the time. Art managed to coax that dragster to hit the 140 mph mark, becoming the first driver in a dragster to do so.
Art was also the first driver to take a dragster over 180 mph and the first driver of the first dragster down the strip at the first NHRA Nationals at Great Bend, Kansas. He was the fifth member of Bonneville’s 200 mph club and the winner of the first Bakersfield March Meet. Art was a key member of the legendary Autolite race team. Art Chrisman was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame, the NHRA Hall of Fame, as well as the SEMA Hall of Fame.
Art formed the C.A.R.S. company with his son Mike, where he had been involved in building engines and hot rods these past few years. We managed to stop by for a visit in 2011: The Art Of Art Chrisman’s C.A.R.S. Custom Rod Shop. We also took part in a book review from EJJE Publishing’s The Chrisman Legacy – Always Faster.
We would like to express our deepest sympathies to the Chrisman family at this time of great loss.